Health and wellness practices are ever-evolving, with some instantly becoming a go-to for people across the globe.
One of the most recent health sensations is cold plunging; the act of submerging yourself in cold or icy water with just your head peaking out!
The many health benefits of cold plunges have left people raving, quickly becoming a trend on social media platforms leading people to take up this ancient tradition.
If you’ve been curious about why people have been flocking to this “new” practice, keep reading. In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know about cold plunging, from the most common benefits to the best way to enjoy this new health ritual!
Let’s dive in!
As mentioned above, a cold plunge is when you submerge yourself up to your neck in cold water, and it’s actually a therapeutic technique that’s been around for centuries.
Some people do this in open bodies of water like lakes and rivers. Others, however, have invested in stainless steel basins to leave outside all winter long, breaking the newly formed ice every morning before lowering themselves down into their frigid depths.
However, it’s difficult to control the water temperature in these environments, with temperatures constantly fluctuating based on your local climate.
While this may mean warmer water in the summer, during the winter, you run the risk of stepping into water that’s too cold to be beneficial.
So, how do you fix this?
The answer; cold plunge tubs!
These tubs have become a go-to for many beginning to include this practice in their daily routine.
They provide an easily accessible way for anyone to enjoy the health benefits of cold plunging, with stainless steel or aluminum basins and precision temperature control.
Not only does this maximize the health benefits of cold plunges, but it ensures each plunge is as reliable as the last!
So, what exactly are the health benefits of cold plunges?
While research is still in its early stages, there have been a number of studies that have shown cold plunging can provide a range of benefits to support a variety of lifestyles.
Here are six common benefits many cold plunge aficionados have been raving about.
One of the most highly desirable benefits of cold plunges is the sharp focus and boost of energy they often provide afterward.
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d dive into a pool early on in the season, and the water would be super cold?
How quickly did that sudden drop in body temperature wake you up?
Cold plunging has the same effect. While the cold water shocks your senses awake, it can help clear brain fog and can give you a jolt of energy.
Anytime you expose yourself to an extreme temperature change, you’re forcing your body to work harder to compensate, stimulating your immune system.
This can result in a boost in immune function, helping your body fight off illnesses more effectively.
Stress has become a daily factor in many people’s lives, resulting in a host of adverse health issues suddenly rising.
With our fast-paced, demanding schedules, finding ways to help combat stress is a must, and cold water immersion may be just the answer you’re looking for.
While the sudden cold can result in your heart rate climbing and your body entering a state of stress as it fights to retain warmth, this can actually result in a wave of calm afterward.
As you step out of the water and begin to warm up again, your stress levels will quickly drop, helping your body relax.
Furthermore, this practice can also enhance your ability to combat daily stress.
As you sit in the cold water, you’re building resilience by withstanding the urge to climb out, conditioning your mind to remain calm in challenging circumstances.
Whether you struggle with back pain after a long day on your feet or are an athlete looking to ease overworked muscles and keep inflammation at bay, a cold plunge can help.
The blood vessels in your body react to temperatures.
While an increase in body temperature will result in them expanding and blood flowing more easily through your body, decreasing your temperature does the opposite, restricting your blood vessels.
But how does slowing blood flow help reduce inflammation?
The magic comes after you leave the water when your temperature begins to rise, your blood vessels open, and oxygen-rich blood floods your body, healing your muscles more effectively.
Furthermore, cold water can also help alleviate pain, influencing your brain’s perception of it to help reduce it once you step into the water (and long after).
Many of these elements work together to create a truly immersive health and wellness experience, and while the drop in temperature reduces inflammation and combats pain, it’s also improving your muscle recovery!
Inflammation and recovery go hand in hand. It’s not uncommon for pain and stiffness to follow a workout, especially if you skipped your cool down.
Reducing inflammation helps your body recover faster, allowing your body’s healing to work more effectively, treating the micro tears you’ve caused in your muscles during an intensive gym session.
Therefore, as your body fights inflammation, it’s also helping your muscles recover faster so you can get the most out of your workouts without the lingering pain and stiffness.
Extreme temperature changes of any kind can influence your mood, which is why saunas and hot tubs have become such a favored addition to many people’s daily lives.
Cold water immersion is no different and can help give your mood a boost by releasing a flood of “feel good” endorphins into your body.
While these endorphins alone help improve your mood, this is put into overdrive as the neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for emotional regulation begin to fire.
The temperature of your water matters, and will play a key role in the cold plunge benefits you can experience.
If your water is too cold, you risk your body entering a state of shock, which can actually have the opposite effect you’re looking for.
If it’s too warm, you may gain some common benefits of hydrotherapy, but miss out on those that stem from the drop in body temperature.
So, how cold should your water be for you to reap the rewards?
Typical temperature ranges for cold plunges often range from 50 to 60℉, with some cold plunge tubs going as low as 40℉!
We highly recommend starting at the highest end of this range, with water that’s between 60 to 65℉ based on your comfort levels, and lowering it slowly as your body builds up tolerance.
Some people who have been practicing cold water immersion for a long period of time may stay in the water for upwards of 10 minutes, while many others soak anywhere from two to five minutes.
But ultimately, the amount of time you spend in your cold plunge tub will depend on the temperature of your water.
During your first few times, you may discover you can only withstand 30 seconds, and this is perfectly normal.
Training your body to withstand the discomfort is a process, and it’s crucial to listen to its signals.
Ideally, your first few sessions should be no longer than a few minutes, giving your body time to adjust and slowly build resilience.
Cold exposure can quickly become dangerous, so it’s important to follow a few basic rules when cold plunging, especially as you first begin including it in your routine.
- Talk to your doctor first
- Start slow
- Don’t soak for too long
- Keep a friend nearby
- Don’t submerge your head
- Warm up immediately after
As with any extreme temperature exposure, there are risks, especially for those with health concerns, such as those with cardiovascular issues, hypertension, or other health conditions.
Ultimately, before you begin embracing the cold plunge lifestyle, we recommend and encourage you to speak to your healthcare professional.
There are many benefits of cold plunges, with many leaving people raving and sharing their stories across social media.
From helping you recover after a workout to enhancing your fitness routine to combatting pain and stress, taking a few minutes each day to soak in cold water can be a powerful way to support your health.
At Fox Valley Pool & Spa, we’re passionate about helping people live their best lives, embracing natural therapeutic practices to transform their health and well-being.
Whether you envision a morning swim followed by a powerful hydromassage or want to gain a boost of focus and enhance your fitness routine, we’ve got what you need.
Contact us, or visit our showroom in Appleton to get started.
Our team of friendly experts will be thrilled to help you find the perfect backyard leisure essentials to bring your vision to life.